Kelley Walsh’s career plans clicked into place when she witnessed a nurse in action, and as a result she will begin college studies this fall to become a nurse anesthetist or nurse practitioner.
Walsh, 18, recently graduated from Illiana Christian High School in Lansing and will study nursing at Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.
“When my younger sister, Cora, had back surgery to help rid her of scoliosis, I visited her in the ICU and her nurse was the nicest, kindest, compassionate and understanding nurse I’ve ever met,” Walsh said.
“She was always nice and always helpful, and that inspired me to pursue nursing. I was looking for a career where I could interact with people and help them through their illnesses.”
The daughter of Mark Walsh and Ruth Zeldenrust, Walsh was thrilled when she was chosen by Illiana Christian as part of a small spring break mission trip to Santiago, Dominican Republic. In addition to teaching kindergarteners, Walsh got her hand dirty digging trenches and shoveling dirt.
“We mixed cement and mortar to connect the cinder blocks together and make a wall to enclose the playground at the Caminito de Jesus (Pathway to Jesus) School,” she said.
“We also poured cement into columns on the second floor of the school so that ceilings could be built and more classrooms could be added.
“I realized how blessed I am to be living in a house with a roof instead of a tin sheet. But I learned that it’s easy to serve people even if you don’t know the same language,” she added.
Walsh resides in Chicago Heights and attends First Reformed Church of Lansing. She is employed at her mother’s business, Zeldenrust Farm Market, and enjoys reading literature and hunting.